Despite the positive discoveries of Vitamin D over the past decade, many researchers are still unsure as to the extent of which vitamin D deficiency plays in disease development. Many experts also disagree on whether or not supplementation or sun exposure is best, with many believing that natural sunlight promotes more balanced blood levels. Despite the barrage of research hitting the scene, organizations continue to differ on recommendations for vitamin D intake.
Recent research suggests that upwards of 75% of the American population is Vitamin D deficient, a number that is far greater than what had previously been considered. Scientists believe this to be on a scale of pandemic proportions. Meanwhile, the majority of the population remains in ignorance of the correct amount of vitamin D they need on a daily basis, and a lack of knowledge in this department can prove damaging to numerous aspects [amazon asin=B0032BH76O&template=*lrc ad (left)]of health. For the sake of your health, it is vital for everyone to understand the risk of vitamin D deficiency and what can be done about it right now.
How to Determine If You Are Vitamin D Deficient
The gold standard for knowing whether you’re Vitamin D deficient is blood testing. Blood levels of vitamin D3 (termed 25(OH)D, or 25 Hydroxyvitamin D) are measured using a simple blood test that your family doctor can [amazon asin=B0038NB9BA&template=*lrc ad (right)]order. There are also simple and inexpensive at-home tests available, typically consisting of an easy blood “spot” test that can provide a blood level estimation. Vitamin D researchers and experts in this field suggest that the general population should get their levels tested at least once per year.
Historically, vitamin D deficiency has been heatedly discussed in terms of what symptoms or health maladies tend to occur in the absence of sufficient intake. Deficiencies have been associated with an increased risk of many common cancers, bone disorders, autoimmune disease, hypertension, and infectious diseases. 
[amazon asin=B000A0F2B2&template=*lrc ad (left)]If you’re getting your vitamin D levels checked, here is an easy guideline to tell if you are deficient :
- Deficient: ≤ 20 ng/mL
- Insufficient: 20-30 ng/mL
- Optimal: 40-70 ng/mL[amazon asin=1118171071&template=*lrc ad (right)]
Are You At Risk?
A number of variables greatly influence whether or not we are prone to Vitamin D deficiency. To better understand this type of nutrient deficiency, it helps to briefly consider the main natural source of vitamin D — sun exposure. Yet, if we carefully consider the amount of sunlight the average American receives on a daily/monthly/yearly basis, it’s not very appreciable nor consistent with recommendations.
Since sun exposure is still the predominant way in which most people receive Vitamin D (though often inadequately), it becomes clear that we need to be cognizant of ensuring sensible sun exposure by making time throughout the week for going outside.